By on October 16, 2011

TTAC veterans will recall the rather controversial Ford Aspire Capsule Review I did last year. It wasn’t controversial because of the subject matter. How could anyone object to a small Korean car, other than the people forced to drive and/or ride in them? Rather, it was a certain word used in the review. Words have more power than we know, sometimes, particularly when you let them have that power.

The Aspire continues to have power over someone; this flock/flotilla/murder of Aspires was sitting down the street from my son’s Kodaly class today. It’s odd enough to see this many of them together, but what was even odder…

I mean, what really shocked me…

The thing that completely blew my mind…


Come on, just click the jump already!

Every one of these cars had a current registration sticker on it, had fully inflated tires, and looked to have been moved in the very recent past. Somebody out there apparently needs a group of Aspires. What are they doing? Post your theories below, and I will go find out as soon as I can catch someone loitering next to them.

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83 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Lowered Aspirations Edition...”

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    A different car for each day of the week?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Rental for a repair shop, driver’s school, or a hoarder.

    The first is unlikely. I can see a 16 to 20 bay operation needing that number of rentals for retail customers. But the most I have seen from any shop is 6 vehicles.

    The Aspires could also serve well for a driver’s school. Although I’m not sure if they could be covered given that these models are well over 10 years old.

    As for a hoarder… I have seen folks collect dozens of vehicles that have small to no core enthusiast following.

    Finally you can also have a delivery or courier service. On second thought this may be the business that most of these cars provide. That… and taxi… and rentals… and…

    • 0 avatar

      You left out the possibility that, after the Hyundai steering wheel adjustment debacle, the penny pinchers at Volkswagen have found a very cost effective way to benchmark Korean engineering.

      Jack – if you’re lucky some of this technology will make it into your next Phaeton.

  • avatar

    Perhaps a dealer is keeping them so that the Chevy Volt will seem like a good car in comparison?

  • avatar

    Pizza place nearby?

  • avatar

    Could there be a club?!

  • avatar

    That’s a real high level in Scientology you are looking at.

    You need to log out and leave the building now.

  • avatar

    First off, I’d like to say that your suggestions of flock and murder for a group of Aspires are an insult to birds everywhere. Though if you had to drive those everyday “murder” might come to mind.

    If it was any other car, I would say “car club” and leave it at that, but this is the Aspire. A Festiva car club? Sure. But the Aspire?!? It’s a strech. Also, the evidence on the internet is that people who DO like these cars are 50/50 going to pimp them out, and all of those look OEM. So I’ll put my bet on fleet use, but since there is no livery I would rule out any chain business, pizza, taxi, etc. that would want the free advertisement. Besides, pizza places rely on their driver to provide the cars usually.

    So, driving school, rental, loaners for a shop, hoarder, or small religious cult. Just since nobody has suggested the last, I’ll make that my bet – some tiny cult needs cars, they all live together and those are the offical rides.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    They need them for the car crushing part of a monster truck show.

  • avatar

    Could those belong to Steve Lang?

  • avatar

    Cat lady meeting? Cats aren’t the only thing they have in common…

  • avatar

    Somebody with a very odd sense of humor.

    Well . . . . after all, Brian Blessed just came in second in the voting for Chancellor of Cambridge University. A murder of Aspires isn’t all that much odder.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Kia is using them in an ad campaign showing how much they’ve improved in just 15 yrs.

  • avatar

    Hmm, a whole collection of fa**ot wagons. No pink ones, but purple will have to do.

    Go back and read the capsule review if you do not know what I mean.

    • 0 avatar

      “Go back and read the capsule review if you do not know what I mean.”

      Yeah genius, could yo explain, what do you “**” mean?

      What I mean is that it seems whatever you’re rolling in is an as*hole-mobile, no matter it’s color.

    • 0 avatar

      “fa**ot wagons”? For real? Brutal.

    • 0 avatar

      As someone commented back then: “Oh lighten up. As an honest-to-god homo it made me giggle. Don’t think I could get any tail in that hunk of shit either.”

      Amen to that. I believe any word is appropriate in the context of a quote, when not intended to belittle or offend someone directly.

      And I don’t want an Assfire either.

  • avatar

    I have heard that Billy Gibbons drives an Aspire when he wants to be incognito. Just another old guy with a big beard in a tiny car, nothing to see here!

  • avatar

    Gifts for Ohio State University football players?

    (see controversial review mentioned above)

  • avatar

    Perhaps someone has a fascination with little-known exports of economic backwaters. Kodaly method indeed! Now as far as the Aspires go, I would get some bomb-sniffing dogs out there pronto. You’ve probably stumbled on to some Hungarian extremists with a plot to blow up significant cultural landmarks in central Ohio. On second thought, can’t be that, too many cars.

  • avatar

    I’d guess that they’re being rounded up to serve as suspension donors for the local Ohio Festiva car club — a lot of Festiva owners upgrade to the Aspire suspension which allows for better brakes and bigger wheels/tires.

    I may do this swap as well on the Festiva I’m prepping for “Lemons” race duty…..

    • 0 avatar

      The Aspire suspension is an UPGRADE??!!? My deepest sympathies.

      I had an Aspire once as a loaner car. I therefore interpreted the name as meaning the vehicle aspired to be a real car some day.

      I haven’t spent time in Festivas, but that Aspire had probably the sloppiest suspension I have ever experienced.

      • 0 avatar

        My dad had a 1993 Festiva, bought after his 1978 Buick Skyhawk tried to kill me. He loved that car because, being the money-pincher he was, he didn’t have to feed it that much.

        When Fester got old and tired he traded it for…an Aspire. He always liked those goofy little cars since he had nothing he felt he needed to prove to anybody.

  • avatar

    A “Fleet” of Aspires would be more apt. Interestingly, Ford still makes a little car whose styling appears to be “Fleet” inspired. The Fiesta’s a much better drive, but, I still can’t help thinking “new Assfire” whenever I see that suppository-like shape.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I say someone took Jack’s spec racing idea, but really cheaped out. Or else somebody is hoping to corner the market, not realizing that scarcity without demand is meaningless.

  • avatar

    “Words have more power than we know, sometimes, particularly when you let them have that power.”


    That’s JUST what all the bullied and harrassed teenagers need to know as they contemplate suicide, as well as other victims of violence and anti-LGBT hate crimes.

    Those “words” that your tormentors were yelling at you during their attcks have NO power or meaning…so stop being over-sensitive. It’s not that those words shouldn’t be spoken (frequently), and/or used as punchlines…it’s that you’re being too thin-skinned.

    Seriously, STILL waiting on your series of reviews of ni**ger-mobiles, and k*ke-sleds, and wetb*ck-jalopies. I mean, you want to be fair, right? Spread the ‘love’ and wisdom and humor around?

    ‘Cuz it’s all just “words” right? C’mon Baruth, ya chicken to use some “words” that might anger other groups of people?

    All that said, I’m a committed Aspire-phobe.

    • 0 avatar

      Your tit is still in a wringer about Jack accurately quoting a bigoted comment? Do you advocate censoring Huckleberry Finn?

      As for bullys, Golda Meir said that you’re only intimidated when you let people intimidate you.

      Lenny Bruce made the same point more humorously in a routine called “Any Niggers Here?”

      Live recording of Bruce doing the routine here here:

      From the screenplay of the movie Lenny. It’s slightly different but then Lenny was one of the original improvisational comics and rarely did the same routine exactly the same way twice.

      Are there any niggers here tonight?

      Can you turn on the house lights,

      and could the waiters and waitresses
      just stop serving for a second?
      And turn off the spot.

      Now what did he say?
      ”Are there any niggers here tonight?”

      There’s one nigger here.
      l see him back there working.

      Let’s see. There’s two niggers.

      And between those two niggers
      sits a kike.

      And there’s another kike.
      That’s two kikes and three niggers.

      And there’s a spic, right? Hm?

      There’s another spic.

      Ooh, there’s a wop. There’s a Polack.

      And then, oh, a couple of greaseballs.
      There’s three lace-curtain lrish Micks.

      And there’s one hip, thick,
      hunky, funky boogie.

      Boogie, boogie. Mm-mm.

      l got three kikes. Do l hear five kikes?
      l got five kikes. Do l hear six spics?

      Six spics. Do l hear seven niggers?
      l got seven niggers. Sold American!

      l’ll pass with seven niggers, six spics,
      five Micks, four kikes,
      three guineas, and one wop.

      You almost punched me out, didn’t ya?

      I was trying to make a point,
      that it’s the suppression of the word
      that gives it the power,
      the violence, the viciousness.

      Dig. lf President Kennedy would
      just go on television and say
      ”l’d like to introduce you
      to all the niggers in my cabinet.”

      And if he’d just say ”nigger, nigger”
      to every nigger he saw,
      ”Boogie, boogie, boogie,
      nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,”

      till it didn’t mean anything any more!

      Then you’d never be able
      to make a black kid cry
      because somebody called him
      a nigger in school.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh good, the word police is here. I doubt any kids getting bullied in my neighborhood ever heard the word faggot while doing so. Using two syllables when one would suffice would have been too affected and grounds for being the next bully’s victim. I’m pretty sure the first time I was exposed to the full two syllables was when it was used in an English class story book to describe a bundle of sticks being used to beat a fallen cart horse.

    • 0 avatar

      So saying the above picture is the parking lot of “Loquita’s All You Can Eat Watermelon and Chicken shack” would be inappropriate….No?

      • 0 avatar

        No, that would be fine; just don’t make any jokes at the expense of Catholic priests, because that’s when Ronnie gets offended.

      • 0 avatar


        I think my comment there was pretty balanced on whole. All I was saying was that not all Catholic priests are pedophiles (by a long shot, I’m sure). I try to have a sense of humor about religion but will admit to some sensitivity when it comes to religion bashing. Some criticisms of specific religions or of religion in general are valid. Some are not. I’m no huge fan of the Catholic church or the Catholic clergy. As a Jew I have some specific criticisms of how the RCC has acted down through the ages. So it would be inaccurate to say that I get offended at “any” jokes at the expense of Catholic priests.

        Jack and Abe are old friends. Jack is a Catholic priest. Abe a rabbi. They’re retired now, but still meet every day in the park to feed the pigeons.

        Jack says to Abe: “So Abe, have you ever eaten pork?”

        Abe shrugs, a little sheephish, “Well, there was one time. I’d just been ordained, and was traveling to my first pulpit in Miami. I had a layover in Memphis, decided to visit Beale Street – you know how I love the blues, and one of the rib joints smelled so good I went in and had some. It was, I have to say, delicious.”

        They go back to feeding the pigeons.

        Abe says to Jack. “So Jack. Have you ever been with a woman?”

        A smile creeps over Jack’s face. “Well, there was a time back in seminary, I stopped in a bar for a nip – you know I like my single malt Scotch, there was a pretty young woman there, we started to talk, hit it off and ended up spending the night making passionate love.”

        They go back to feeding the pigeons.

        Abe says to Jack, “Sure beats pork, don’t it?”

    • 0 avatar

      Oh good, the guy who pretends he doesn’t understand context is back.

  • avatar

    Looks like a gaggle of vehicles “aspiring” to be real cars? Hee ho.

    Sorry, that’s all I have on this topic.

  • avatar

    “Lowered Aspirations”

    You mean like this?:

  • avatar

    Unbelievably, there are actually car clubs for these:

  • avatar

    Maybe they belong to somebody smart enough NOT to buy a new car with a black box? That would leave out 99% of the readers here…

  • avatar

    I say eccentric hoarder… One newer Ohio plate indicates they’ve owned it for 2 years or less, so the older plated Aspires have been owned for more than 2 years.

    Second guess: A discount maid service. Or mobile massage parlor service.

  • avatar

    I live right down the street in Clintonville. If anywhere had a collection of cars sitting on the street that deserve some attention on this website it’s this little town. This fleet of Aspires is in fact used regularly. They disappear during the day and come home at night. I believe that they are owned by a company called custom works which is, I believe, a custom cabinet maker. I drive past them every day and have always intrigued me as well, just the fact that they believe in the cars so much that they’ve kept them up all these years. I’ve often wondered whether they’ve owned them since new.


    • 0 avatar

      I checked using Street View; the white one was the only one there, so I would assume all of the others were out “working” (maybe the driver of the white one took a sick day?)

  • avatar

    (no reply button for TurboMark)

    There’s a “school” right by there called International Field Studies… fleet vehicles for instructors taking students out to the field?

  • avatar

    I believe those are fleet vehicles belonging to Customworks which is located at 4668 Indianola Ave (AKA Hwy 23), Columbus, OH 43214.

  • avatar

    Can anyone find a company that operates a fleet of Pontiac LeMans badged Daewoos today? I doubt it. The Chevy Cruze’ grand daddy made the Aspire look like a Corolla.

  • avatar

    @ TurboMark

    My sincere apology. I didn’t see your post.

  • avatar

    This was the rental car I had for my first trip into the mountains when I moved to Denver in October 1996. After trying to take it over Rolling Pass and a lot of mountain driving through ice and blizzards following the railroads from Steamboat Springs to the Royal Gorge I found it to be reliable and inexpensive, even with a $65 speeding ticket. It wasn’t the best car in the world, but I have some very good memories of driving one.

    The name was particularly indicative of Ford’s callousness when it came to small cars. Probably the only thing that screamed ‘I’m not a real car’ as much as the ‘Aspire’ was the last Focus having a two blade radiator while the rest of the lineup had three (plastic) chrome razor blades on display.

  • avatar

    Trying again.

    “Lowered Aspirations”

    You mean like this?:

  • avatar

    Mormon missionaries. The guy who owns the Ford dealer must be LDS. Seriously, I once worked in a building that had the local missionary office, with six or eight identical Corollas parked outside.

  • avatar

    This picture makes total sense. No apologies. In today’s economy…my friend has one of these–white–with 256,000 miles on it. Original A/C, trans., clutch…on and on…He still boasts 35-40 mpgs!!!!!!

  • avatar

    I remember reading a magazine interview of Kristanna Loken (that terminator girl), when asked what car she owns, she said “a fleet of ford aspires in different pastel colors”. She was kidding, but kudos for the girl to know her aspires. I guess she might have owned one, back before she was famous?

  • avatar

    Words and language have immense power, of all kinds. They have the power of communicating ideas, the powers of connotation, denotation, exclamation, questioning, bullying, insulting, valuing, devaluing, oppression, liberation, and so on.

    Importantly, however, words have power not merely for the listener, but for the speaker as well. Words may be insulting or degrading or humiliating of the listener, but they are also reinvigorating, reinforcing and empowering for the speaker.

    Generally speaking, language that is used to degrade another has a very powerful social and political function. Such language often serves to help keep the other in his or her place (as degraded object), which of course implies that it also helps to preserve or advance the status, place or position of the speaker. In this general function, language can either be oppressive and domineering as a means of maintaining or preserving the current social and political power structures (whatever they may happen to be), or it can be liberating by helping to challenge and overturn current power relations in favor of others that are hopefully more democratic, egalitarian and fair (though of course this doesn’t always happen).

    So words do have a lot of power, but while people often focus on the power they have for the listener, they tend to overlook the power they may have for the speaker as well. The husband, for example (and there are any number of examples one can use here) who continually denigrates his wife through insults, humiliating humour, and other oppressive forms of language is not only trying to keep her in her ‘place’ (as oppressed ‘servant’ if you will) but is also working hard to reserve and maintain his own place as a position of privilege and power in the household.

    Words don’t merely impact, they also express. Words are expressions of one’s state, status, outlook, viewpoint, position, privilege and power (or lack thereof), and so on. When words alone, in their ‘political’ function. fail to sustain or challenge their chosen political/social order, people will very often resort to other, more physical forms of expression. Thus if the wife or the gay guy is no longer kept in place by words alone (the insult no longer works), it’s usually then that the threats of physical violence begin.

    It’s no accident that rulers who want to preserve their place and their power will often target intellectuals and artists first, for they know the real power of words.

  • avatar

    “No, you idiot! I told you to design a church with 7 SPIRES!”

  • avatar

    hey, all those Occupy (your city here) entitlees gotta park somewhere.

  • avatar

    I see the offensive word in the review… and I which Aspire piqued your interest. The third Aspire in the row matches that word. Pink!

  • avatar

    I’m not sure why my entire post didn’t show up before but here it is now, I think the link I had pasted had messed with the formatting.

    I live right down the street in Clintonville. If anywhere had a collection of cars sitting on the street that deserve some attention on this website it’s this little town. This fleet of Aspires is in fact used regularly. They disappear during the day and come home at night. I believe that they are owned by a company called custom works which is, I believe, a custom cabinet maker. I drive past them every day and have always intrigued me as well, just the fact that they believe in the cars so much that they’ve kept them up all these years. I’ve often wondered whether they’ve owned them since new.

  • avatar

    Not enough Aspires =P as an Ford Aspire owner

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